The cycling celebrations got off to a sensational start on Saturday with the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International taking place in glorious conditions before the opening ceremony kicked off the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in the Harrogate Fan Zone.
Tens of thousands of fans turned out to cheer on the best para-cyclists in the world as they competed in the first-ever para-cycling event to be held alongside the UCI Road World Championships. 89 male and female para-athletes battled it out in no less than 26 different races, with Beverley’s Adam Duggleby the very first rider to cross the finish line piloting Hebden Bridge resident Stephen Bate after emerging triumphant in the B class, after pulling away from Team Ireland on the final drag up Parliament Street on the finish on West Park.
Team GB rider Stephen Bate chats to CyclingShorts.cc after his win in the Yorkshire 2019 Para-cycling Class B race in Harrogate. All Content ©Anna Magrath / cyclingshorts.cc
That’s one of the fastest rides we’ve done all year and it was a real war of attrition. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible and we couldn’t have asked for more. Every town we passed through was absolutely packed and to hear our names being called out was just phenomenal. We’ve never experienced anything like that – not even at the Rio Games. It’s great to come away with a win and we want to thank everyone for all that support.
This is the first time para-cycling races have ever been held alongside an able-bodied event and finishing on the same line as the Road World Championships was pretty special.
Dame Sarah Storey meanwhile, was one of five world champions in action and she too romped to victory in the C5 class. It was the first time we had seen Sarah compete wearing her Rainbow Jersey after retaining her title last month in the UCI World Championships.
This is the biggest para crowd I’ve raced in front of since London 2012 and I heard so many cheers and people shouting my name – it was amazing. The course was really good too and held in such a beautiful location. We very rarely get to ride point to point but Yorkshire’s taken the bull by the horns and hopefully this can be a blueprint for how para-cycling events are run worldwide. It was a really sensational event and I’m proud to have been part of it.
CyclingShorts.cc caught up with Will Bjergfelt after his C5 win in the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International race. All content ©Anna Magrath | CyclingShorts.cc
Interview – Ireland’s C5 Team – Vereker & Forristal – Yorkshire 2019 Para Cycling International by Cycling Shorts
We caught up with Ireland’s C5 Team – Damien Vereker & Paul Forristal – after they came 2nd in the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International in Harrogate. Apologies for the poor sound quality. All content ©Anna Magrath | CyclingShorts.cc
The Men’s C5 win went to Will Bjergfelt, beating Alex Jones by over a minute, and a further one and a half minutes behind in third place was Jonathan Gildea.
In the men’s C2 Class Team GB’s Matthew Robertson beat Australia’s Darren Hicks by 7 seconds on the line. I caught up with them both for a quick chat at the finish line, they were in high spirits.
The was awesome, getting more exposure for the sport and parity, after competing in this race, after being part of this event, it’s really a new experience. Having everyone just treat you the same as all other competitors, it really spurs you on and makes you work harder for your results. It’s been amazing!
A course like this is bloody tough, and so it should be, we are athletes and we should be given a course that’s really hard and challenges us. Having this number of people cheering it’s unbelievable. We would be lucky to have an eighth of this crowd at one of our top races, for the whole road race, let alone just at the finish like today. It’s cool.
The Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International was the first-ever para-cycling event to take place alongside a UCI Road World Championships.
The event was organised by Yorkshire 2019 and British Cycling and included 26 races in total, all held on one day, with men’s and women’s contests taking place across all four para-cycling classifications. Setting off from Beverley, Tadcaster and Wetherby, every race finished in Harrogate and the results will count towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Highlights of the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International will be screened on BBC Two from 1pm on Sunday as part of the live coverage of the Team Trial Mixed Relay.
I think this para event took cycling to a whole new level in Yorkshire, and I didn’t think there were many levels left! I was in Tadcaster at one of the three start locations and the way the town embraced it was amazing. Beverley was buzzing as well and Wetherby equally great. Harrogate obviously deserves a mention too – it was amazing – and today was a real first for Yorkshire. We’re so proud it’s been a success as both ourselves and our partners pushed very hard for a para event to be held alongside the Championships. Those efforts have definitely been rewarded.
Over 36,000 people were in the Fan Zone as well today too and it’s been a real party atmosphere – very reminiscent of the Tour de France Grand Départ back in 2014. We can’t wait for the Championships now and that’s going to be equally spectacular.
I’ve been completely blown away by the weather, crowds, scenery and support. The racing was brilliant too and all the riders were telling me it’s the best event to happen since London 2012. That means so much to me as we really wanted this to be a meaningful event, held on exactly the same stage as the Championships. The dream has become a reality today.
Once the para action had concluded, attention immediately turned to the Fan Zone as huge crowds saw UCI President David Lappartient officially declare the UCI Road World Championships open alongside Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley, British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington and Welcome to Yorkshire Commercial Director Peter Dodd.
The Championships’ racing will start on Sunday with the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay that will see male and female athletes compete alongside each other for the very first time.
About the 2019 UCI Road World Championships:
The UCI Road World Championships have only been held in Great Britain on three previous occasions, the most recent of which was at Goodwood in 1982. The 2019 Championships will take place in Yorkshire between 22-29 September.
The Championships commence on the Sunday 22 September with the maiden Team Time Trial Mixed Relay and the programme continues through to Sunday 29 September with Individual Time Trials and Road Races for Junior (17/18 years), Under 23 and Elite male and female riders.
Approximately 1,400 riders are set to compete from 90 countries and the action will be beamed to a global TV audience of over 250 million.
Photographer & Writer
Based in the North East of England; photographer Chris Maher specialises in sports photography with his main interests in Cycling and Super Bikes. Chris has covered sports events from local and national level right up to the Olympics for CyclingShorts.cc.
Editor & Writer
Anna Magrath founded CyclingShorts.cc in 2008 and invited some of her cycling friends; coaches, photographers, writers and pro cyclists of different disciplines to join her, bringing you all things cycling related.
Over the years Anna has supported grass roots cycling events, riders and teams. Anna has a particular interest in Track, Road, womens cycling, recreational cycling and cycling related art. She has reported from the top cycle races on the world calendar including the Tour de France, Olympics, World Cups & World Championships.
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